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Please don't let me be misunderstood

Image by Daniel Hannah

This weekend has been a good one for reflection.

It started with a 15Km trail run in aid of Fighting Blindness in that wonderful part of the world that is Glendalough.

Firstly, like every time I participated to the event, I am always humbled by watching the visually impaired runners and their guides warming up and ready to take on the treacherous path ahead.

Actually, now that I think of it, the start line is the only time I see them. They are obviously a lot faster than I am.... but my speed is of no interest to you.

So let me get back to the beginning of weekend.

A crisp autumnal mid October morning, dotted with temperamental showers, welcomed us when we arrived at start line, just off the main lake.

After the initial chit chat we started in earnest and within minutes I found myself on my own - I had told my friends and running comrades not to wait for me, and for once the listened !!!

I concentrated on my breathing, keeping an eye on the trail and pretty soon I was enjoying both the sounds - minimal - and the smells that this amazing Irish landscape has to offer.

I spent the next hour and 48 minutes in my own company, contemplating life, age, work, gratitude and fitness.

I felt pretty good and was happy with the run overall.

That same night I had the pleasure of watching "Nothing compares to you" the documentary about Sinéad O'Connor.

Directed by Kathryn Ferguson it concentrates on the artist's life between 1987 to 1993.

It's a powerful film with Sinead's voice throughout discussing the events as she sees them now in 2022.

I came to Ireland in 1991.

Sinéad O'Connor's music was the soundtrack of my early years in Ireland.

Along with the Hot House Flowers and The Frames, as well as U2, I used to listen to her songs and wallowing in her amazing voice.

I had no idea of what most of the songs meant.

Sure I could just about ask for directions in English - on a good day.

She talks about some of the songs and their meaning in this film. Troy.

Chilling stuff.

The documentary follows her career while looking at the political and cultural landscape of the time.

I felt really emotional watching some of the events that became iconic for a various reasons.

I think my emotions came from a sense of guilt, from being part of that large crowd of bystanders that while didn't attack her, decided to sit on the fence and not support her.

The now infamous Saturday Night Live appearance when the tore the picture of Pope John Paul, accusing the church of covering up for child abuses...

I get shivers thinking about the wonderful rendition of War by Bob Marley that she sang that night.

Just a few weeks later, I was in the Point Theatre, Dublin, for a concert - the name escapes me, but it was one of those gigs with a number of artists for some charity or another.

Sinéad O'Connor appeared on stage and sang War amongst the boos and the whistles of parts of the audience.

On that occasion, I just stood there in awe of this amazing young woman (we are similar vintage) having the courage to stick to her beliefs and values.

We, as a society, decided to attack her - cancel is what would be called now - and effectively derail her career.

I am listening to her music as I am writing this and it is true, her voice gets into you.

Deep inside. Extremely powerful.

I shed more than a tear when the last song came on as the credits rolled on.

I failed Sinéad.

Sometimes if we don't understand something we cannot and don't want to know about it. We fear it and we react.

Some attack you.

Some cancel you.

Some sit on the fence.

The documentary is out in cinemas at the moment and there is a great interview with Kathryn Fergusson in the Hot Press Magazine

Good movie for some introspection

"And you should've left the light on

You should've left the light on

Then I wouldn't have tried

And you'd never have known

And I wouldn't have pulled you tighter

No I wouldn't have pulled you close

I wouldn't have screamed

No I can't let you go

And the door wasn't close"

Troy - Sinéad O'Connor

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